This t-shirt's message feels eerily appropriate.
"Several" Silicon Valley recruiters seem to share the coder's sentiment in what's explained as a trend that has been blooming slowly for years and has now manifested amidst the latest tech boom. In the past, Apple was revered in the Bay area tech circles, as career-minded specialists were careful not to tarnish any possibility of landing a job at One Infinite Loop. But right now, the mood appears to be shifting towards dismissing the very same opportunity as dodging a bullet. Programmers in the job market openly talk of issues such as "high-stress culture" and "cult of secrecy", which goes against office tendencies of gentler management and "playful" workdays.
Also, engineers no longer look "to work for Apple", but rather towards "big problems" on the cutting edge of technology, ones that will challenge them creatively and put them at the center. And even though Apple is tackling self-driving car and artificial intelligence projects, it hasn't produced a truly novel product in a while. Its last major release, the Apple Watch, did not become a "must-have" among users, even though it is the best-selling smartwatch right now. Meanwhile, iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks are no longer considered groundbreaking products, just ones undergoing refinement.
Although Apple is the world's largest corporation, more stable than venture-backed companies like Uber and Airbnb, and pays its employees well, it may have to consider relaxing the reins in addition to brainstorming a killer new product. But the latter can't happen without fresh-minded talent, and at present, the iPhone maker seems to be off the radars of disruptive programmers who value flexibility and lifestyle perks over security and a big salary.
Then again, The Guardian's report is only indicative of a trend. For all these recruiters who claim Apple has lost its appeal, there could be just as many claiming the opposite. For all the young coders who'd rather get a job at Uber, there might be just as many who'd give anything to work on the new iPhone. But where there's smoke, there's surely fire. Meanwhile, Apple hasn't reflected upon the publication.